NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A home repairman was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for killing his wife, beauty pageant director Patricia Kilgore, and wounding her house guest, sound engineer Gene Riordan.
The verdict against 38-year-old Ramsey Kilgore was returned by a criminal court jury. In addition to the life term, he was sentenced to 6-to-21 years for assault with intent to murder Riordan.
Kilgore's first trial on the charges ended with a hung jury last December.
The jury returned the guilty verdict after two hours of deliberation despite defense attorney Joe Binkley Sr.'s description of Kilgore as a simple church-going man who had been mocked by his wife.
'The most docile person in the world can take just so much and then they're going to explode,' Binkley said in his closing arguments.
But Assistant District Attorney General Hal McDonough told the jury Kilgore coolly planned to murder his wife, director of the Little Miss Tennessee Pageant, and Riordan and then make it appear he had caught them in the midst of sexual intercourse.
'This was his way of ending their marriage -- cold and premeditated,' McDonough said. 'He had decided that she wasn't going to get a chance to divorce him.'
Kilgore testified he could not remember what happened after he found his wife sitting nude on a desk in the basement of their home on June 23, 1979.
He implied that Riordan struck him from behind as he entered the room and that he then suffered an epileptic seizure.
Riordan, who occasionally worked with Kilgore's wife and admitted having sexual intercourse with her on two business trips, testified he and Mrs. Kilgore were discussing plans for an upcoming beauty pageant when Kilgore ordered them, at gunpoint, to strip and perform oral sex on one another.
Police found Kilgore's naked wife lying in a pool of blood outside the back door of their home. The left side of Riordan's face was left paralyzed by one of the shots that struck him.
Riordan said after the verdict that he still fears for his life because of possible revenge by Kilgore.